Too many days off school

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I’m a single parent of two daughters attending Macdonald Drive Elementary School in St. John’s.
I work in general contracting. I’m writing regarding the scheduling of teacher professional development (PD) days and the scheduling of various school events.

This past year has been like no other with regards to the amount of days my daughters have been off school due to professional development days for teachers.

The school closing this summer has actually been extended due to the number of these days, plus an extended Easter break.

The point being is, it’s difficult enough as a single parent to make ends meet and combine that with the kids off from school on PD days. If I don’t work, I don’t get paid. I don’t have the luxury of sick days and family days that most people have.

This year, the scheduling of certain events has also been changed. The previous year school concerts and special events were scheduled in the evenings.

This year they have been scheduled for 1 p.m. in the afternoon which takes me away from work to attend them.

I would never miss any of my daughters’ school concerts but I shouldn’t be forced to take time away from work to do it.

I’m asking that something is done about scheduling — I have no doubt that teaching can be a stressful job, but it is also very stressful to lose much-needed income when all that has to be done is keep the scheduling the way it was for concerts and events — in the evening (after work).

Teachers have their summers off for the most part.

Schedule half the professional development days during the summer so the rest of us do not have to take as much time off work to stay home with the kids. Please!

David Maunder

St. John’s

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Recent comments

  • Leah
    June 27, 2014 - 07:14

    A few points to add to previous comments: 1. Most schools have some evening events (which as Red so accurately points out, are not times when teachers are required to attend school events). When there are evening events, these teachers have taken time away from their own families to spend time with your family, voluntarily. I'd imagine that there was a concert or event or two at your child's school this year that took place in the evening, which teachers took time to do. There would have been a curriculum night event, and there would have been parent teacher interviews, with both day and evening appointments. And, I'd imagine that the students performed during the day for their classmates from time to time. This is what happens at my children's schools. And, sometimes, due to working in the evenings, night-working parents can actually attend a daytime event if there is one. Not all parents are lucky enough to work in the daytime. As well, many children have events and activities in the evenings, and often have to choose between their activities and the concert/performance. 2. The school year is the same every year, with the same number of days. 3. All schools hold the exact same number of professional development days, which is regulated. This does not change from year to year. From time to time, a school may not avail of all of its days for a particular reason, but there are 5 days set for this purpose every year. 4. Teachers do attend professional development in the summer. I have friends that do. Professional development during the year also helps the current children in the teacher's class and in the school. Summer sessions won't help when the teacher doesn't have a class to work with. Certainly, although I do understand where you are coming from, and can sympathize with what you are saying, I hope that you are able to understand that there is another equally important side to this.

  • Leah
    June 26, 2014 - 20:53

    A few points to add to previous comments: 1. The school year is the same every year, with the same number of days. 2. All schools hold the exact same number of professional development days, which is regulated. This does not change from year to year. From time to time, a school may not avail of all of its days for a particular reason, but there are 5 days set for this purpose every year. 3. Teachers do attend professional development in the summer. Professional development during the year also helps the current children in the teacher's class and in the school.

  • Red
    June 26, 2014 - 11:08

    David for one thing school is not daycare, and the teachers don't get paid to attend events after school. So you are essentially asking them to do the same thing you don't want to do. Second if you work for an employer that doesn't let you put your family first and doesn't give you sick time then it's time to find a new job. I would like to see anyone who says teachers are lazy do their jobs for a week, and they might change their minds. Who wants to look after a room full of other people's kids. Give them a little respect. Teachers volunteer for more things than any average person and they give up a good part of their lives to cater to school functions.

  • Mack Hall
    June 26, 2014 - 09:01

    So do any of you ever vote? You get the government for which you vote.

  • Mack Hall
    June 26, 2014 - 08:56

    So do either of you ever vote? You get the government for which you vote.

  • W Bagg
    June 26, 2014 - 08:05

    If you are a contractor, your fee or charge should include time for your own vacation, sick days etc.... The oil industry does this, they pay contractors much more than they would pay an employee because they have to account for time off. Perhaps at your work you could volunteer to show up for special events and concerts your employer may have, because that is what you are asking the teachers.

  • George
    June 26, 2014 - 05:13

    David, You have to understand, One time Teachers work for the taxpayers, Now we work for the teachers and union. Its not their over work, just got lazier. I work at a store here in town, I see teacher who should be in class, But take of a sick day of, just to go shopping.

    • Douglas
      June 26, 2014 - 11:45

      I find store workers lazy and overpaid. I see them hanging around smoking pot, drinking and driving around on motorcycles. How do I know this? The same way you do, George, I make stupid uninformed inferences about subjects I know nothing and present them as fact to feel better about myself.